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What May I Learn from Dental Assistant Training?

Sep 30, 2010

Although many dental offices hire dental assistants who have little or no training into an entry-level position, successfully completing a course can make you a better candidate to get hired from the pool of numerous candidates that are available for each new position that becomes available.

When a person is hired as a dental assistant without any education, training, or experience, it is then up to the dentist to train the assistant to perform the various jobs that she will be responsible for. This will include sterilizing and laying out the dental equipment, taking care of the patients' records, assisting the patients and making sure they are comfortable in the dentist chair as well as learning the tools and handing them to the dentist when needed.

It can take a long time to train a dental assistant and while some dentists prefer to teach their assistant the techniques they prefer, others don't want to take the time needed to guide their new assistant through the process.

Even though it may seem like a waste of time and effort on your part to go ahead and take a dental assistant program without being assured a position, it is normally no more than a one-year extension to your education and will prepare you to step into a new job ready for the responsibility of the job.

Some of the things you will learn from a good training program will include:

  • All the duties that you will have assisting the dentist at the chairside.
  • How to take impressions and mix the materials used to make impressions and fillings.
  • Sterilization of the instruments and the disinfection of all the equipment.
  • How to prepare and dispose of local anesthetic appropriately and safely.
  • Preparing and taking X-rays.

Depending on the state you live in and the school you choose, you may also learn skills related to finding a job, how to file insurance claims, how to handle office procedures, OSHA rules and regulations, and taking and recording patients' vital signs.

A career for you

Some courses will include a period of clinicals or an internship that will allow you to experience the responsibilities of the job firsthand. Those programs that feature an internship will be greatly beneficial. You will have the opportunity to apply what you have learned in the classroom to a real-life dental office. Many of these are also used as an opportunity for an employer to determine if you have the skills required for working in their dental office.

Although you will learn many important skills during dental assistant training, there are some important characteristics that will make a person a good candidate for this type of career. For one, they need to be responsible and dependable. As a dental assistant, you will be responsible for important duties that the dentist will rely on you for every day. Keeping the instruments and equipment properly sterilized and disinfected is essential as is keeping accurate patient records.

Since a dental assistant is responsible for handing tools to the dentist, manual dexterity is also an important quality for a dental assistant. When you ask: "What will I learn from dental assistant training?" you must realize that some important characteristics must already exist to make you an ideal candidate for becoming a dental assistant.

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